Hearts call off Inverness clash after eight players wiped out with virus

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Hearts have been forced to postpone Tuesday night’s scheduled clash at Inverness after a sickness bug wiped out eight first team players.

The Gorgie club successfully applied to the Scottish Professional Football League for the match to be switched to next Tuesday, with the club doctor even providing written evidence.

Among those that were affected by the virus were goalkeepers Neil Alexander and Jack Hamilton, leaving 17-year-old Kelby Mason as their only available keeper.

robbieneilsonAnd SPFL rules stipulate that clubs must name a substitute shot-stopper on their bench, something Hearts would have been unable to do.

It is understood that most of the players began to show symptoms of the bug on Saturday evening, just hours after the 3-1 defeat at Celtic.

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson will now be hoping that those affected can recover in time for Friday’s visit of Aberdeen.

He said: “I’m disappointed that we won’t get to play the game as scheduled as the boys wanted to continue the good form they showed at Celtic Park.

“It’s a real shame for the fans too, but I’m glad that the decision made before the day of the game.

“The virus has completely wiped out the majority of the squad. We still prepared as best we could and started to travel up to Inverness, but with only one fit goalkeeper available the game couldn’t possibly have went ahead.

“The whole situation also disrupts our plans for Friday’s game against Aberdeen, but we’ll regroup and prepare as best we can.”

A SPFL statement read: “The SPFL today announced the postponement of the above match in the Ladbrokes Premiership, due to have been played on Tuesday, 5 April.

“Heart of Midlothian FC applied to the SPFL earlier today for the postponement in view of injuries and/or sickness affecting the vast majority of the first team squad, which has left the club with few fit players including only one fit goalkeeper over the age of 16.

“The Heart of Midlothian FC doctor has provided written evidence to the SPFL of the injuries and sickness of all those affected and has also advised of the potential for further infection, both of other squad members and of players and staff of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC.

“In these exceptional circumstances, the SPFL has agreed to the postponement request.

“The match has been rescheduled and will now take place on Tuesday, 12 April at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium with a 7.45pm kick-off.”

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